Abstracts of HCRC Research papers, 1998

Einat Amitay
Hypertext - The importance of being different
Dillon et al. (1993) observed, when the hypertext authoring on the web was just beginning to become popular in the non-academic world, that there is a problem of schemata, or genre conception, in hypertext, because of the flexible nature of language and the varied layout used in its creation. Today, almost five years later, the web is used by many people and there are conventions which evolved from usage and experience. In the years that passed since then, users became aware of the existence of other users by interacting with their hypertext documents and by creating their own homepages. Through analysing two corpora consisting 1000 HTML files retrieved from the World Wide Web, this study describes the linguistic conventions with which hypertext documents are being written. It is claimed here that hypertext is a new linguistic genre and that it should be treated as such in future studies. It is also suggested in this dissertation that studying these conventions and applying the gained knowledge to existing academic work, would be beneficial to both hypertext users and the research community.
(March 1998: 61 pages)
Ref. No. HCRC/RP-94 Price: UKL ???

David McKelvie
The Syntax of Disfluency in Spontaneous Spoken Language
This paper describes a project to parse transcripts of spontaneous spoken dialogues. It concentrates on the issue of disfluency -- that is pauses, fillers (`um's and `er's), repetitions, speech repairs, and fresh starts -- which makes spontaneous speech different from written language.

If one wants to parse spontaneous spoken language, then one needs some way to cope with disfluency. The approach taken here is that one should attempt to parse disfluencies along with the fluent speech. This paper looks at some possible methods of augmenting a phrase structure grammar to deal with disfluent speech. Such an augmented grammar was implemented in a parser which was used to parse a corpus. The results of this parse are reported and analysed.
(May 1998: 24 pages)
Ref. No. HCRC/RP-95 Price: UKL ???

Padraic Monaghan and Keith Stenning
Learning to solve syllogisms by watching others' learning

Students learn vicariously when watching other students in a learning situation. Exactly how and what students learn when watching others, however, is underexplored. This study reports an experiment on students learning to solve syllogisms using Euler's Circles by viewing videos of students learning to use the method. Two conditions were employed: one group watched a student who showed difficulty in using the method, the other group watched a student who used the method with ease. Groups that learned vicariously paced themselves in accordance with the speed of solution of the students they viewed, the control group worked much faster at the problems. The different groups seemed to learn different skills from watching other students learn: watching a student struggle assisted with manipulating the graphical representations, watching a student use the method with ease benefitted translation into and out of the representations.
(October 1998: 13 pages)
Ref. No. HCRC/RP-98 Price: UKL ???